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LAND DIFFICULTIES IN INDIA.
BY THE REV. W. HILL.
Piplee, near Cuttack, India,
Feb. 17th, 1873. In one or two former letters I gave you an account of the inundations which occurred in Orissa at the commencement of last rains, and of their destructive effects upon our christian location at Bilepada. We are now in a fair way for having this damage repaired, as I have had the jungle cut and cleared on a higher site, and the wooden framework prepared for several new houses.
When brother Miller took the land he got a clause inserted in the deeds to the effect that, when required, wo were to have as much more land made over to us on the same terms. In accordance with this agreement I applied to the agent for the additional land, and in April last brother Miller and myself had the land marked out and made over to us by the agent, in the presence of not less than a hundred people. Many of these men made a tremendous noise as the boundaries were being defined -declared the land belonged to them and that they held titles of it. The agent, on the other hand, declared that they had no titles whatever that he had warned them off the land—and that they were mere trespassers. Here and there small patches had been cultivated or broken up ready for cultivation, but the agent said that these heathen ryots had paid no rent, and possessed no claim. Accordingly I gave orders for ridges to be made and for boundary stones to be put down, but these land marks had not been down long before the former were knocked over, and the latter carried away. After this it was reported to me that these men had been and sown the land, and that they should cut the crop. Again it was said that they had not sown it, but only scattered a few grains of rice upon it. Whether they had done either the one or the other I do not know, but I told our people that they must proceed with the cultivation. In doing this the heathen men threatened to beat them, and threw away their tools. But still they went on till they were stopped by the flood, and all the young rice was destroyed. Again and again I advanced money for seed-corn, but it was again destroyed; and as the season was too far advanced for sowing, I had a quantity of rice transplanted. This latter attained perfection; but when I was attending the conference in Cuttack, Miss Packer sent me word that a number of men were cutting and carrying away the crop. Immediately I wrote to the head police, and he reported the case to the European ma
gistrate, who in the meantime had come to Piplee on circuit. After spending nearly a week in examining receipts, titles, witnesses, and in going to and fro, this mana Hindoo—reported that the people were cultivating on conflicting and indeterminate titles, and that both parties laid bona fide claim to the land. Under these circumstances the magistrate, without further inquiry, refused to prosecute himself, but left them at liberty to prosecute in the criminal or sue in the civil court at Pooree if they thought well.
On certain repro-. sentations made by me, he afterwards altered his mind and agreed to take up the case at Piplee. On the case being gone into the men declared they had not carried away any rice belonging the christiansthat it was their own, and that they had only reaped what they had sown—that they held pottas or titles of the land. In reply to a question where his title was, the first and chief man said, “his house had been burnt down and his title consumed.” Another produced a title, said to have been given by the landlord, who was dead. The agent, however, who was a Hindoo, and had held his post for fifty years, said that neither the body nor signature was in the late landlord's handwriting. Moreover, he pointed out that the palm leaf and writing had been stained outside to make them appear old, whereas inside, the leaf was quite new. Witnesses were produced who swore that the land belonged to the seven men charged with carrying away the crop —that they had held it for years—that they did not know that the christians or the sahibs laid any claim to it—that they had never seen them at work on it-that they had never seen Miller sahib or Hill sahib on the land, and had never heard that they had been there. On the other hand the agent—the watchman-and another Hindoo gave evidence in accord with the facts I have previously stated_also four of our native christians testified to the same effect. When the case was about at an end the accused men said that they had four other witnesses. “Where are they?" said the magistrate. “They were coming, but from what the agent said they turned back and refused to come.” Orders were given for them to be summoned, and the case was adjourned to Khoordah, a place fifteen miles distant, whither the magistrate was bound. Though I have not seen or heard the decision officially, I am informed that the defendants were declared to be guilty of forcibly cutting and carrying the crop—that the three chief offenders
were fined twenty rupees each, and the other four five rupees each. This is about the value of the crop, and this monoy it is said we are to obtain. The men, however, have appealed to the judge at Cuttack, and as I write his decision is not known. From all I heard and know of the case the punishment is ridiculously light-indeed as the police valued the crop which they carried off at nearly that sum, it can scarcely be called punishment at all. The magistrate, however, gave them every chance; and, as he is not suspected of any leanings towards christians or the christian religion, there can be but little doubt that they would have got off altogether if the case against them had not been made out as clear as day light. What, however, is of far more importance to us than a heavy fine, is the possession of the land, and this is confirmed by the verdict.
Having to deal with a people who, without the least scruple will resort to any amount of lying, bribery, and forgery; and as magistrates and judges have to decide according to the evidence, it will be seen at
once how important it is that, as far as possible, missionaries should steer clear of land disputes. Still, as by the providence of God so many young people have been placed under the care of the missionaries in Orissa, and as the cultivation of the soil is one of the safest, surest, and most respectable modes of obtaining an honest livelihood, we seem to have no alternative but to mix up in land affairs.
Some of our friends will, I suspect, gather from this statement, that their missionaries are involved in secular matters; and such no doubt is really the case. If, however, anyone can inform us how we may get rid of them, and at the same time tell us how to do our duty to the hundreds of orphan children committed to our trust-children who have bodies as well as souls, and who must live on earth before they can live in heaven, none will rejoice more than the writer.
NOTICE.- Rev. W. Hill requests us to state that his address is now Berhampore, Gangam, India.
FOREIGN LETTERS RECEIVED. BERHAMPORE-W. Hill, May 9.
PIPLEE-Miss Packer, May 3.
POOREE-Miss Leigh, May 19.
May 18th, to June 18th, 1873.
£ s. d. Ashby and Packington 15 17 0 London, Commercial Road
2 0 0 Barton and Barlestone
18 14 0
59 16 2 Bath 2 0 0 Long Sutton
27 17 10 Billesdon 10 17 6 Loughborough, Baxter Gate...
20 3 6 Birmingham, by Mrs. Ellaway
12 6 6
30 12 6 Bourn 56 12 3 Louth, North Gate
23 16 6 Burnley, Enon 5 5 0 Lyndhurst
3 15 1 Castle Donington and Sawley
39 3 8
10 15 6 Chellaston 7 14 6 March
39 15 0 Chesham 69 5 10 Measham and Netherseal
10 15 0 Cropstone 2 7 0 Melbourne and Ticknall...
24 30 Derby, Mary's Gate... 56 10 1 Nantwich
1 12 0 Osmaston Road 52 1 6 Nottingham, Broad Street
4 0 0 Earl Shilton
2 18 8
7 12 3 Ford 20 2 5 Pinchbeck
9 1 6 Gosberton
7 1 1 Halifax 14 16 8 Quorndon and Barrow
8 6 11 Hitchin 39 90 Ramsgate
0 2 0 Hose 7 10 6 Sheepshed
0 12 6 Hugglescote 7 10 9 Sheffield
5 3 0 Isleham... 1 13 6 Southport
3 8 6 Killingholme 0 16 0 Spalding
13 0 11 Leeds, North Street... 11 10 6 Stoke-on-Trent
21 00 Leicester, Friar Lane 9 18 0 Sutterton
14 8 10 Archdeacon Lane 1 10 0 Sutton-in-Ashfield
1 16 0 Dover Street ... 1 0 0 Tring
1 13 6 Victoria Road 1 13 6 Todmorden
15 10 0 1 14 0 Wendover
11 3 9 London 7 7 0 Wisbech
3 17 5 -Borough Road 13 7 10 Wolvey.
31 17 6
Subscriptions and Donations in aid of the General Baptist Missionary Society will be thankfully received by T. HILL, Esq., Baker Street, Nottingham, Treasurer; and by the Rev. J. C. PIKE, the Secretary, Leicester, from whom also Missionary Boxes, Collecting Books, and Cards may be obtained,
GENERAL BAPTIST MAGAZINE.
THE ASSOCIATION AT BURNLEY.
The writer of this paper had never paid a visit to the Yorkshire and Lancashire churches till now. After spending a very happy Sabbath with the beloved pastor, and his family, at Birchcliffe, and rambling over those "goodly hills " which Dan Taylor knew so well; and," as in duty bound," having visited the Nook in Wadsworth Lane, near to which that good and great man began to preach, and with much of interest, but no superstition, going up the stone stairs which lead to the upper room where the people afterwards met to listen to his words : after all this, we went, under the inspiration caught by visiting this interesting and beautiful neighbourhood, to our work at Burnley. The article in the June Magazine had prepared us somewhat as to the place; and we were received with such a hearty welcome, that we were at once and completely “ at home.” Our belief in
communion of saints,” as well as in those higher and Divine articles of the Christian creed, is deeper now than ever-so admirably did our hitherto unknown friends discharge the duties of Christian hospitality. Assuredly we hope it may not be our last—albeit it was our first visit to Burnley and the General Baptists there.
Monday afternoon brought a fair number of ministers and brethren from the midland district; and some from places more distant still. The friends at “Enon,” with their pastor, Rev. W. H. Allen, were the first to welcome us: and tea was provided for the weary travellers in their school
Then to work at once: the Business Committee in the minister's vestry, the College Committee in the large school room, and the opening devotional service in the capacious chapel. This was made necessary, and can only be excused, on account of the distance. When possible the College Committee sits early in the afternoon, so as to enable all to attend the Monday evening service. The Rev. W. H. Allen conducted the prayer meeting, and an address was delivered by the Rev. J. P. Barnett on “Christian Brotherly Love: its Model and its Beauty.” Nothing could have been more suitable for the beginning; and the "Brotherly Love" was most manifest, right through to the close of the session.
Tuesday morning was begun with a devotional service conducted by the Rev. J. Lawton,
of Louth; his subject of address being “ the Influence of Fellowship in the Lord.” Of our early meetings for devotion we may say, they were not quite so well attended as usual—possibly arising, in part, from the fact that “ Enon chapel” is twenty minutes distant from “ Ebenezer,” and a good many of the friends were staying in the neighbourhood of
VOL. LXXV.-NEW SERIES, No. 44.
the latter. Let us try and get a larger attendance at, and greater interest thrown into, our early meetings for prayer. At ten o'clock the brethren gathered in goodly numbers at Ebenezer chapel, where the Rev. George Needham preaches to an attached church and congregation. This church is in the 88th year of its existence, and the old chapel still stands to tell where our fathers worshipped.”. The new chapel, and newer school rooms, are capacious and convenient: the latter especially having numerous class rooms, which proved of great service for committees, &c. And here we may say the friends arranged for breakfast, dinner, and tea, daily, “working with their own hands,” and not paying others to do what was necessary for our comfort. So hearty and so homely was their welcome, that everybody seemed to be quite at home.
At ten the first real meeting of the Association began. The Revs. G. Needham and W. H. Allen giving out appropriate hymns, and the Rev. Isaac Watts offering special prayer. The president of the year, the Rev. Samuel Cox, of Nottingham-so well known in the literary world, as well as in the school of Biblical Exposition-commenced his inaugural address, taking as his theme “ The Inductive Method in Theology.” The Minutes for the year will contain a brief abstract of this powerful and timely production. After singing Toplady's metrical version of the immortal Te Deum,
the Association was duly constituted, by electing, at the president's earnest desire, the Rev. J. Clifford, M.A., LL.B., as vice-president, and the Rev. J. Fletcher, as assistant to the Rev. S. S. Allsop, secretary. Thanks for the chairman's address were moved and seconded by Rev. J. Wilshire, and C. Clarke, B.A., in appropriate speeches; and duly acknowledged by the president in reply. The Rev. C. Kirtland was introduced as a deputation on behalf of the Baptist Irish Missions; and a resolution, cordially approving and recommending for support the society's work, was passed. The Rev. J. Marten was also introduced as a deputation from the General Baptist Assembly, and was welcomed to the sittings of the Association.
The Annual Committee Meeting of the Foreign Missionary Society, was presided over by Fred Thompson, Esq., of Derby, and was largely attended. The balance sheet showed £269 in hand, whereas last year we owed the treasurer £348. This was so far satisfactory; but, did it not as well show how little we had spent, as how much we had saved ! Men-more men are wanted—and as if to rebuke our unreadiness, the Lord has sent us the money; £4000 will fall in shortly—legacies left to our society; and surely some suitable and earnest men will be coming forward to say, “Here am I, send me.” Two missionaries and their wives are to leave England in September, and the ordination and valedictory services are to be held, one at Loughborough, where Bampton was ordained ; and one at or near Birchcliffe, where Dan Taylor preached. Happy thought of the committee—nowhere are there firmer friends to the mission than in Yorkshire, and they mean to do better than ever. There was a good earnest feeling through the committee, showing that we are still alive to the interests and needs of Orissa. A desire was expressed to see Dr. Buckley and his invaluable wife, once more in England ; a desire that we trust may be realised soon ; the sooner for their sakes the better. The Home Missionary Meeting on Tuesday evening was in every respect a capital one. The chairman, Mr. Alderman Lomas, J.P., of Burnley, gave a good key note to start with, and the speakers took it up with admirable precision and power. To single out any, when all spoke so well, might appear invidious, but the younger brethren did speak admirably. There was the The Association at Burnley.
287 true ring about the speeches; and we venture to say it was one of the best Home Missionary Meetings held for years; and one of the best of the Association. The Home Missionary talk was good: now let the “ unification," of which we have talked so long, show we mean what we say. And if it be not out of place, let us ask, “ How would it be if the Conferences to which half the amount raised for the Centenary Fund have been voted, handed it all over, with promises to make the total £5,000, to the Building Fund, as soon as they receive it!” Could not, and should not that be done ? It would be doing as well with the money as possible. And then, carry out the plan of uniting our efforts to plant a new church in some good centre every other year, if possible.
Wednesday began with a devotional service, conducted by the Rev.J.P. Tetley, whose theme was, “ Love to Christ; the motive power to devotedness in His service.” The annual Sunday-school conference followed at nine; chairman, J. Rhodes, Esq., of Bradford. A paper on Sunday-school work was read by Mr. J. S. Gisl, and an animated discussion carried on, till the clock told it was time to close. This meeting gathers fresh interest every year. Public worship began at eleven. The Rev. John Stroyan, minister of Bethesda Congregational Chapel, opened the service, and the Rev. W. R. Stevenson, M.A., classical tutor of Chilwell College, preached the first Association sermon from Gen. xlix. 10. It was scholarly, earnest, and encouraging.* The communion of the Lord's Supper was held at 3 p.m. The spacious chapel was crowded. The Revs. G. Needham and W. H. Allen, presided; the address was delivered by Rev. W. Gray, the prayer by Rev. 1. Stubbins, and the giving of thanks by Revs. G. Hester and I. Preston. At half-past six the Foreign Missionary meeting was held in Enon Chapel, J. H. Scott, Esq., mayor of Burnley, in the chair. Addresses by Revs. E. C. Pike, Dr. Burns, H. Wilkinson, and Thomas Cook, Esq., Leicester, who gave a deeply interesting account of his recent tour round the world, especially from a missionary point of view.
Thursday morning began with an earnest sermon by our beloved brother Lees, of Walsall, on Gal. i. 15, 16. At nine, prompt, the President was in his place, and business began.' “The College was the important and all engrossing subject. After sixteen years' faithful service, Dr. Underwood resigned his post as President at Chilwell
. His resignation was accepted by the associated brethren; and he was addressed at some length, in words full of earnest affection by the vice-president, one of his first students. Dr. Underwood replied with much feeling. He retires with our best wishes, and earnest prayers for his future peace and continued usefulness. Strenuous efforts were made to obtain the services of the editor of this Magazine as his successor; but Mr. Clifford felt so bound to his London work that he positively declined. With great unanimity and cordiality the Rev. T. Goadby, B.A., of Derby, was chosen President; and how earnestly it is desired and hoped that the valuable, yea invaluable services of the Rev. W. R. Stevenson, M.A., may be continued to the students, no words can tell. The Centenary Fund occupied much attention, and though the £5000 has not been raised in the specific form desired and intended, a good deal has been done in other ways to celebrate the Centenary year. A warm and appreciative tribute was paid to the officers of the fund, and especially to the secretary, Rev. T. Goadby. He has devoted more of time, and talent, and talk, to this object than anyone else, and deserves more than mere verbal praise. The Circular Letter was singu
* This sermon appears in the Baptist of July 11. Let all our readers get it. It is only a penny.-ED.